Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Skype P2P VoIP

Standalone Skype phone

December 13, 2005

Came across this supposedly "standalone Skype" phone which everyone has been clamoring for. I must get at least one request every other week asking me if I know of any standalone Skype phone that doesn't require a PC in order to work. In any event, this Skype "standalone phone" inventor writes, "I only make this standalone phone for my family." Too bad, because you'd probably be a millionaire if you decided to build this thing. You might even make a few hundred dollars on eBay if you don't want to sell your plans to a manufacturer.

Yahoo undercuts Skype pricing

December 8, 2005

Yahoo said yesterday that a new version of its Yahoo! Messenger software ( to be launched in the next few days will include "Phone Out," (eerily similar to SkypeOut) with low per-minute charges for PC-to-phone calls, and "Phone In," a low-cost monthly subscription service for phone callers to call computer users via a traditional PSTN phone number.

What makes this news really interesting is that Yahoo said it plans to charge one cent per minute to Yahoo Messenger users calling the United States from, say, Russia, or anywhere else in the world and 2 cents a minute to call 30 other countries including Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea. This pricing seriously undercuts Skype and with this new VoIP competition from a major player this will further push phone call pricing to the inevitable "free" pricepoint.

My only question now is when will Google launched Google Out and Google In (via Google Talk) in response to their arch rival Yahoo? Google has even more cash in the bank if they wish to subsidize their VoIP offering with low-call pricing that undercuts both Yahoo and Skype.

Skype 2.0 video enables porn

December 7, 2005

This blog states that with video capabilities added to Skype 2.0 that he thinks this could be an enabler for the porn industry. Specifically he states, "But, let us be realistic - with the integration of video with Skype, and Skype-Out, the real business is going to be porn."

I'm not sure I necessarily agree with that statement. While Skype 2.0 still has the renowned audio quality and I was quite impressed with the video quality in my Skype 2.0 review, I don't think the API is flexible enough at the moment to enable live porn video feeds while simultaneously giving the entire billing control to the pornographers. You have to consider that the pornographers need an easy way to charge a per minute rate for the video feed while still maintaining control of the billing.

Microsoft and MCI team up on VoIP

December 7, 2005

According to TheVoIPWeblog which received a tip regarding Overdo's Land of Nothingness blog entry, Microsoft is planning on using MCI for VoIP termination.

TheVoIPWeblog writes, "According to a tipster, Microsoft will soon be announcing that it has contracted MCI to provide outbound PSTN calling for click-to-call applications and for Live Messenger. This would provide outbound dialing capability a la SkypeOut. Hit the link for the tip-off."

You can read more about Microsoft offering PSTN termination here on the Microsoft Live site.

It still remains to be seen how successful Microsoft will be at convincing users to make VoIP to PSTN calls. After all, they failed with Microsoft NetMeeting and they failed with Windows/MSN Messenger to attain a critical mass of users terminating to the PSTN.

Skype Me! book

December 6, 2005

Looking for some good reading material with the time off for the holidays? Well, Syngress Publishing, Inc., today announced the publication of "Skype Me! From Single User to Small Enterprise and Beyond" by Michael Gough of - the first book written on Skype. The book shows readers how to install, configure, deploy, and secure Skype VoIP solutions.

Retailing for $34.95, the Skype paperback covers the following:
-Get through the Basics Painlessly
Step-by-step instructions get you up and running on Windows, Mac, Pocket PC, and Linux devices.

-Create Skype Accounts and Begin Chatting Sign up, become listed in the Skype directory, and begin searching for contacts.

-Transition Existing Services to Skype
Plan a process that gradually replaces those services you currently pay for with Skype.

-Expand Skype's Capabilities with Add-ons See how to add voice mail, SMS text messaging, Outlook integration, Web toolbars, and call forwarding.

-Extend Skype via Its API
The API itself is divided into two main sections, the Skype Phone API and the Skype Access API.

-Use Skype Away from Your Computer
No, you don't need to be at your computer to use Skype.

Google Gtalkr for Google Talk

December 1, 2005

Gtalkr is a Flash-based website-enabling access to Google Talk and was launched yesterday as a beta. It allows you to access your Google Talk (Gtalk) instant messaging account without the software client installed, from any computer that has Flash installed. Comparisons will no doubt be made with Meebo, however Gtalkr is only for Google Talk and uses Flash instead of Ajax. The screenshot above is the upper-left hand portion after I logged onto Gtalkr. Check out this site which has screenshots and some further analysis, as well as this site.

Skype 2.0 review

December 1, 2005

With the launch of Skype 2.0 beta today, I thought I'd take the new version of Skype for a quick whirl. The Skype interface looks much the same as before - the same clean look, but they definitely did some polishing. The main new feature in Skype 2.0 is the video feature which I will examine in in a minute. First I want to point out some interesting new features.

Skype 2.0 beta

December 1, 2005

Skype 2.0 beta is released and it now includes video capabilities. Skype also announced its collaboration with Logitech, Creative, and with weblog software and services company Six Apart (creators of TypePad and MovableType). The new edition features a new search box to type in names or numbers which will then match entries in the user's address book. It also features an installable toolbar within Outlook to search from there as well.

Another interesting feature is that through Skype's partnership with Six Apart, it let users of its TypePad blogging service integrate Skype presence into their weblogs.

Auvi launches Skype products

November 30, 2005

Auvi Technologies, a designer and developer of digital entertainment hardware and emerging technologies, today announced its development strategy encompassing a complete line of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and Skype-enabled products aimed at residential customers. The product image to the right is "coming soon" according to their website, with no additional feature specs, but it appears to me to be a cordless Skype phone product similar to the Linksys CIT200 I reviewed. Interesting how both the handset and the docking cradle have a keypad. I'd venture a guess that this must mean it has an embedded speakerphone.

According to Auvi, "Ranging from PC-controlled Skype accessories to standalone cordless speakerphones / entertainment hubs, Auvi offers retailers unique turnkey solutions in next generation communication hardware, as well as service.

CallinSearch software lets you click-to-call from Google, MSN, Yahoo

November 23, 2005

One of the CallinSearch employees posted a comment on my Google click-to-call post pointing to their technology which is currently in beta. By the way, the Google "click to call" news certainly flew under the radar. I don't see Click-to-Call listed on Google Labs even, where Google often trials new features.

In any event, CallinSearch has interesting browser-specific plug-ins that work with most browsers to enable click-to-call access within search engine search results. According to CallinSearch, "Why a separate Podcast directory, phone directory or even yellow pages?

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